Steps in preventing computer theft or making it less painful
Below is a short list of recommendations that cannot only help protect your laptop from being stolen but also helps eliminate stress if it does get stolen.
Keep track of important data
Write down the computer serial number and model number, the support phone number, and any other useful details about the computer and store that information in your files. Keep the receipts of your computer and associated equipment. This information will come in handy when you need to report the laptop as stolen.
Engrave contact and reward info
Engrave, or put a sticker on the laptop with a phone number with a reward of around $250 for laptop return if lost. Often many thieves can't get more than this on the black market and may call you to sell it back to you.
Don't keep it out in the open
Never keep your laptop out in the open; this is especially true when the laptop is in your car. If you leave your laptop alone even for a moment, it's an easy target for someone to grab while you're not looking.
Use a laptop lock
If you are using a laptop while at a coffee shop, work, school, or away from home attach it to a lock. Most laptops today support the Kensington Lock that can help prevent it from being taken if you step away from it. If a Kensington Lock is not available Compucage, Kensington, and Targus offer other security protection and locks.
Keep eyes open at the airport
If you're taking your laptop with you on a plane, keep a close eye on it at all times. Especially when it has to leave your hands to go through a metal detector. Thieves can use this opportunity to take your laptop.
Use laptop protection services
Check to see if your laptop has TheftGuard or any other security system that can be enabled. If not, consider an alternative program. We've listed several of these programs in the below services that help track and protect.
Backup your important data
Keep a daily external backup of all your important data. Having your important data on a CD or other drive that's not part of your computer can save you lots of time and pain if your computer goes missing.
Tip: You can also use a cloud backup services to automatically backup your information that could be accessed even if your computer was stolen.
Create a boot password in CMOS setup, so your computer prompts for a password before it boots.
Use a good password manager to store and encrypt your password and other login information. Many people will put login information in a text file that can be read by the person who stole the laptop.
Encrypt sensitive data
If you have important or information that you would like to keep confidential, make sure to encrypt or password protect that data.
Protection and tracking services
There are dozens of online services that can help protect your computer, and if it's stolen, help locate it. Below is a list of some of these companies in alphabetic order.